Grace Betty was my first Cabbage Patch Kid. It was Christmas, 1983, and I was five years old. Coleco had mass-marketed the Cabbage Patch Kid as the "it" toy for every little girl. There were riots in toy stores, akin to the 1996 Tickle Me Elmo craze. My parents were always strapped for cash and shopped last minute, but tried to get us kids what we most wanted each year. And what I most wanted was to adopt a Cabbage Patch Kid.
In smalltown ohio, the population was 99.99999% caucasian and .00001% hispanic/asian. And by the time
I don't know if this simple happenstance made it easier for me to adapt as my smalltown grew and accepted its first African American families. I'm not certain of the impact of Grace Betty on my views on racial equality and social justice. But I think maybe in some small way - she's always been there as a reminder... a reminder of my parents' love and courage, and their refusal to sway to social stereotypes. ...and it makes me think that one day I will buy my own daughter baby dolls of different races - so she can learn to love all people.